Monday, July 17, 2006

Organization in Sweden

We're back in Sweden for some weeks. It's a delight to be among these friends and family (distant cousins) that we love. We've already had some delightful times in just the few days we have been here. Linda and I lived here in Uppsala for 30 months in the last few years.

This evening I was making arrangements with my cousins to visit them in Södertälje, a community not far south of Stockholm. There are several ways to get there: rented car, bus, commuter train, or mainline train. We've done all three, and our favorite by far is the mainline train.

The train, unfortunately is also the most expensive, but not out of reason. This evening, I decided to be adventurous and order the tickets online. This was adventurous because the ordering system is in Swedish. Fortunately, the system is very, very well organized.

I called up the schedule for the approximate times of our departure and return, and picked the best for us. I then entered my US debit card (Visa check card) number, email and mobiletelephone number. When I pressed the "purchase" button, my mobile signalled almost immediately with an incoming message. It was the confirmation code for our tickets, which we will pick up at the train station from a "ticket automat". A minute or two later, an email popped in with a complete itinerary.

Now I know that we're paying for this level of organization, but it delights me nonetheless when This is not out of the ordinary here; it is normal. Some things work better than others, of course, but orderliness is the norm in society here.

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